Brokering labour: The politics of markets in the Kathmandu construction industry

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Although there is a rich tradition for labour studies in anthropology, little attention has so far been paid to the markets that connect prospective employees with places of work. In this article, I show that places of labour mobilization become sites of brokerage that index the complicated politics through which labour is rendered available to industry, particular in the context of non-formalized employment relations. Utilizing a political economic framework, I locate contemporary informal construction labour within the larger histories of employment that have characterized the Nepali state’s integration into the global economy. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Kathmandu, the article traces processes of dislocation and differentiation for construction labourers as they struggle to secure work and argues for the role precarious workers themselves play as brokers of their labour power as a protection mechanism against experiences of exploitation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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ID: 228895904